Saturday, January 30, 2010

Here's an example of what I've been describing concerning my methods. The photo on the left was taken after about 2 hours work on the painting started in the town central square, yesterday. This morning, with reference to the photo I had taken of the actual scene, I began a little refinement and what you see on the right is the finished product, completed about 3 p.m. this afternoon. You can see that the ( all important ) bones of the composition and color were already pegged and in place very early on. And as I said before, with the sights, sounds and smells of the place still vivid in my head, it was a joy to finish the piece off today, and I'm pretty happy with the result. I considered placing more bodies here, there and about but they only would have distracted attention from the elements already in place. One has to learn when to stop.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Here's another example of a " plein air " start that was brought to completion entirely on location. It necessitated returning twice more on following mornings. I don't often do it that way ( the weather cannot be trusted to be the same for one thing ) but it was very peaceful and enjoyable to be in the churchyard. It was also a lot easier to see the details hiding in those shadows.
Here's an indication of the kind of work I do on location. " En la Tarde " is a 14 x 18in. oil on panel which was started en plein air. I start all paintings up to 18 x 24in. on location and work for up to 3 hours at the first go. It is very rare that I can actually finish one of this size in one session, given the sort of " finish " I like to put on them. It's not that I don't like the look of a " broader " approach but this is not my personal preference. So, I have to work hard and fast. A lot of energy goes into these things on the first go. Later I may return to the location more than once and finish the piece but it's more usual that I will refer to a photo I will hopefully remember to have taken at the outset. This is not to say that the main " bones " of the painting change much beyond that first few hours. In fact I try to keep it looking more or less the same in spite of the addition of a lot more detail. This is a bigger challenge than might be expected. As is sometimes pointed out, " more is often less " and it has taken me much experience to arrive at a point where a satisfying balance seems to be at hand. I find this method of working to be most satisfying, ...................... you initially soak up all the color, action and atmosphere of a location and any studio work you have to do later feels like you're still there, where you started the picture. I don't think I could work exclusively from photos. I would feel totally trapped in the studio.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Well now ................. I was encountering an increasing amount of disfunctionality with the old "Dicksons Gallery" website and it got to the point where it was really just a waste of time that could have been better spent painting. So, after 5 or 6 years of careful nurturing, the site is no more and I'm hoping this blog will fill a perceived "void" in the artistic universe. Having said that, I have no idea where this is going. I'm a man of lots of thoughts but very few spoken words. Bueno, ....... vamos a ver.
The painting you see first up on the left is an oil on canvas, 24 x 30in., I did in December. " Days End " is what it's called and I'm pretty happy with it. Total satisfaction with anything I've done is a bit of an illusive feeling but this one comes close. So, that will maybe get us off on the right foot so to speak. I'll check out how the page looks and there will very probably be more to follow. T.D.